EC rules on labelling of perishable cosmetics

Related tags Cosmetic products Cosmetics Perfume

The Europeran Commission has launched an initiative to ensure that
all cosmetic products with a durability of more than 30 months will
have to indicate so on the labelling. The move means changes for
manufacturers of a variety of products, including shampoos,
sunscreens and beauty creams, writes Simon Pitman.

The Commission says that the aim of the initiative is to better inform consumers about cosmetic products, given that the efficacy of some can be depleted over time as well as the possiblity of becoming harmful to the user. The move is especially relevant to sunscreen products, the efficacy of which is vital if users want to insure protection against sun damage.

The information will be labelled with the use of a clearly marked logo, represented by an open beauty cream jar and a clearly marked period during which the product is safe to use after opening. The Commission said that this system was chosen to make the labelling as clear as possible and to avoid taking up too much label space with wordy explanations.

At the same time the Commission has also introduced a measure ensuring that the labelling of 26 substances used as perfume and aromatic composition in cosmetic products will be mandatory as these substances may be allergenic.

Until now they have only been mentioned in the list of ingredients of cosmetic products under the title 'parfum' or 'aroma'. However, this new labelling requirement will allow consumers to identify substances they are allergic to.

European Commission​ vice-president, Günter Verheugen said: "This initiative is good for consumers and industry. Consumers get clear information about the product they buy and use. And the EU cosmetics industry benefits from coherent rules, as the new labelling is uniformly implemented in the internal market."

The European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association​ said that the requirement were "another piece of information on the optimal use of the product. In this regard, consumers have a very important role to play in the way they should use and store their cosmetic products."

Until now, there has been no information concerning the 'use within' period for conservation of a product when it was more than 30 months old. This meant that there was only the mention of the minimum durability when it was less than 30 months.

Although cosmetic products are normally formulated with various preservative to ensure that they last a long time, the consumer has often been left in the dark, not konwing how ‚long is a long time'.

The move does not apply to any products which were put on the market before 11 March 2005. It also does not apply to products that don't deteriorate or single-use products.

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